Trump's Early Tweet on Jobs Upends Decades of Market Data Norms

U.S. President Donald Trump gets market-moving information long before its released to the public. More

A Friday morning tweet from President Donald Trump previewing the May jobs report is raising alarm bells among some economists and former government employees as to whether he may have violated longstanding government protocol.

At 7:21 a.m. EDT, Trump clearly seemed to signal the report's general tenor as he tweeted he was "looking forward to seeing" the report that was subsequently released at the normal 8:30 a.m. time.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics figures released Friday showed May unemployment at 3.8 percent, the lowest since 1969, with female unemployment at 3.6 percent, the lowest since 1953.

According to a Labor Department rule, executive branch employees are barred from publicly commenting on the jobs report until "at least one hour" after its official release.

A former member of the President's council of economic advisers under President Obama pointed out the possibility of leaked information sparking insider trading, and said that any leaks should be investigated. Bloomberg News data also showed that the value of the US dollar moved sharply higher after the Twitter post compared with previous trades the mornings jobs data are released.

"But, you know, just saying let's look at the jobs numbers, all of America is looking at the job numbers".

The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the jobs report on the first Friday of each month at 8:30 a.m.

Chris Lu, a former deputy secretary for the Labor Department under Barack Obama, noted the president's tweet was a "comment that violates" the directive.

However, a 1985 Office of Management and Budget policy directive published in the Federal Register during the administration of President Ronald Reagan outlined an updated procedure to ensure that the jobs report and other significant federal economic indicators would not be released prematurely. This appeared to have happened, as traders treasury yields increased following Trump's tweet pushing positive employment numbers.

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"The United States has been taken advantage of for many decades on trade", Trump said in a statement.

"You can read into that 10 different things if you want to read into it", Kudlow said on CNBC. "The advance info is sacrosanct - not to be shared", he wrote.

"Our bond desk knew this was a very big heads up, but there are so many headlines and stories and themes we are following, Spain, Italy, trade sanctions, Nafta, that the President's tweet didn't set off a firestorm of trading activity", said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called the tariffs "totally unacceptable", but Mr. Navarro said US trade partners need to examine their own "unfair trade practices".

Trump's supporters revere this mold-breaking approach, but it has created an environment in which information that has always been closely held by the government is now fair game for Trump to reveal through a Twitter post or a casual remark.

The rule governing comment on the jobs data was put in place for at least two reasons.

Modest wage growth remains the great puzzle in the economy. "I tracked him down on Air Force One".

"He simply ignored the wall", New York University presidential historian Timothy Naftali said of Trump's post Friday. Asked if he'll share it with Trump ahead of time again, Kudlow responded, "I have no idea".

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